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Sunday Nashville Regional Championship Game Thread: Vanderbilt vs. Atlanta

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8pm CT on ESPN3/WatchESPN. Two teams enter; one team leaves (or we play again on Monday, depending).

NCAA Baseball: Nashville Regional-Georgia Tech vs Vanderbilt Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The hope coming into this afternoon’s elimination game was that it would be a close one between Atlanta and The Larry Birds, causing both teams to empty their bull pens. Unfortunately, Atlanta took a 4-0 lead in the first and never looked back. Once they extended their lead to to 6-0 in the 4th, 8-0 in the 6th, and 9-0 in the 7th, it made it really easy for Head Coach Danny “Annie” Hall to leave his starter out there for the duration and save his pen for tonight. Still, we beat them last night. Just need to do it again. As it’s double elimination, we’ll have two cracks at the championship piñata (but hopefully will just take care of business tonight and send Atlanta home).

Championship Game: Sunday June 6th 8pm CT on ESPN3/WatchESPN

#1 Vanderbilt Commodores (42-15, 19-10 SEC)

vs.

#2 Atlanta (31-24; 21-15 in the ACC)

On the Mound

Vanderbilt #88 Fr. RHP Patrick “Life Of” Reilly (4-2, 4.54 ERA, 6 starts)

vs.

Atlanta #22 So. RHP Chance “The Pitcher” Huff (1-0, 10.29 ERA, 0 starts)

[As such, it’s a Johnny Wholestaff game.]

*Note: Lineups and pitching matchups have yet to be released.

Here are the pitchers each team has used so far:

Vanderbilt

Friday: Rocker (7 IP), Schultz (1 IP), and Smith (1 IP).

Saturday: Leiter (6 IP) and Maldonado (3 IP).

Do not expect to see Rocker, Leiter, or Maldo, but the other two could come out of the pen.

Atlanta

Friday: Hurter (6 IP), Crawford (0+ IP), Maxwell (1/3 IP), Siegel (2/3 IP), and Bartnicki (2 IP).

Saturday: Grissom (4 & 1/3 IP), Maxwell (1/3 IP), and Smith (3 & 1/3 IP).

Sunday (afternoon game): Archer (9 IP).

Do not expect to see Hurter, Grissom, Archer, or Smith. The rest could come out of the pen.

Snap Analysis and Predictions:

Vanderbilt will be favored in this one (duh), as we are the National Seed, are the more well-rested team, have more arms—especially starters—available to us tonight, are at home, and did not already have to play a full game today. Oh, and we have the “two to get one” advantage, as this is a double elimination tournament and we are currently 2-0 to Atlanta’s 2-1. Beyond that, the only bullpen arm we will not have available to us is closer Nick Maldonado. Everyone else is rested and ready.

Offense: 4 Ramblin’ Wreck hitters—Gonzalez, Malloy, Jenkins, and Reid—had multi-hit games against The Larry Birds on Friday. Atlanta 3 hole hitter #4 C Kevin Parada took Jack Leiter deep in one of only four Ramblin’ Wreck hits against the Diamond Dores. Finally, Atlanta’s offense went Happy-Go-Jacky Sunday afternoon, with four different Ramblin’ Wrecks going yard—including two by #25 Fr. DH Drew “City Of” Compton. Let’s just hope their arms are tired from all that hitting.

As for Vanderbilt, our offense got untracked in Friday’s win against Corbin’s old employer, but we struggled to string hits together against Atlanta last night. Tater was too aggressive in the blowout Friday, however, and bruised his hand trying to stretch a single into a double. He missed Saturday’s game and is unlikely to be in the lineup tonight. Of course, unearned runs are still runs, and Tater’s nominal replacement in the lineup—Javier Vaz—made an impressive diving catch in LF and would have stolen home if not for Troy LaNeve calling LaTime a tick before the pitch was LaThrown.

If I was just judging based on this weekend, Atlanta would get the edge. I’m not. As I said before the last game:

The Ramblin’ Wreck slashed .283/.375/.459 on the year.

The Dores have slashed .301/.390/.509 2021 and put up an easy 10 runs last night against them Hose. Beyond that, we’ve got the clear power advantage, belting 80 HR to Atlanta’s 62.

That all still stands, despite Atlanta’s dinger party this afternoon.

Advantage: Push.

Pitching: Come on now. Do you really need me to get all granular here? The pitching advantage we have in this one is still pretty stark. We will throw a good young arm who has been up and down in 6 starts his freshman year. If he falters, we will have a nearly fully stocked pen to bail him out. They will either throw a sophomore with a 15.63 ERA and 3 starts on the year, or a bull pen arm who has not started a game all season. *Update: They’re going with former Dore #22 So. RHP Chance “The Pitcher” Huff, who has 19 appearances on the year, but this will be his first start. I’d be shocked if they don’t go to the pen at least four times tonight.

See above for a run down on available arms. Just trust me that we’re better off with respect to starters and in the pen tonight.

Advantage: Vanderbilt.

Anchor of Gold Twitter Poll Prediction:

Prediction: Expect us to win this one, as well.

See you in the comments.


The Lineup